Dartford aim to keep the pressure on the top two when they host bottom of the table Weymouth in the National South this weekend.
Unbeaten in the league since the start of September, the Darts have won seven of their last eight and approach Saturday’s game in great form. Weymouth have recorded just one win in the league this season and based on current form gives Dartford a chance to end a 32 year wait for a league victory against their opponents.
For a third time in a month, the Darts showed character to come from behind to claim all three points on Tuesday night. Alan Dowsn’s side have taken nine points from losing positions this term against Eastbourne Borough at the end of September, at Dulwich Hamlet and then at Slough Town. After suffering four defeats in five near the start of the campaign, Dowson’s side is now full of confidence after just one defeat in the last ten league outings.
Earlier in the week one change was made to the starting eleven with Tom Bonner rested as a precaution meaning a start for Kieran Murtagh. Slough Town took the lead in the first-half through Josh Jackman and continued to be in front at the interval. In the second-half, Dowson tweaked the side with the introduction of Pierre Fonkeu and that proved pivotal later on. Charlie Sheringham scored to put Dartford on level terms, the striker’s fourth in all competitions this term. Then Fonkeu won it for the Darts with his sixth of the campaign to take him level with Samir Carruthers. Over the last seven days Dartford have picked up four points with Tuesday’s win adding to the creditable 1-1 draw at St Albans City.
Dartford avenged their playoff heartbreak when they last played Weymouth by knocking the Terras out of the F.A Trophy. Last season Jack Jebb’s well drilled shot from outside the box was enough to put the Darts into the last sixteen of the competition. Goalkeeper, Dan Wilks was in top form to keep Weymouth at bay in the second-half and help his side hold on.
As the head to head record suggests Weymouth have enjoyed taking on the Darts, especially during the Southern League years of the sixties, seventies and nineties as well as the Conference years in the mid-eighties. The Terras have won almost twice the amount of times as Dartford, one of those victories was in the playoff final in August 2020. After a 0-0 draw, Weymouth clinched promotion to the National League on penalties, the Darts missed all of their spot kicks to lose 3-0. In that campaign the two sides met just once in the league and yet again the Dorset club came out on top. Norman Wabo’s last minute goal was merely a consolation for the Darts as the Terras scored three.
Weymouth have struggled with life back in the National South following relegation last season. David Oldfield started the campaign in charge, but after just two points in the opening eight matches the former Oxford City boss exited by mutual consent. Bobby Wilkinson was lined up to take over and arrived at the Bob Lucas Stadium with a good reputation. Wilkinson led Hungerford Town to promotion to the National South and has also won the Isthmian League South Central with Bracknell Town. A spell at Wealdstone saw the Middlesex club reach the F.A Trophy and playoff semi-finals and he is no stranger to working within a tight budget.
Losing his first four league games in charge of the Terras, Wilkinson finally posted a win for the Dorset club at their twelfth attempt. Victory over Slough Town came against the odds in that Weymouth were reduced to ten men away from home, but Cam Murray’s late winner recorded a first maximum. Yet they almost threw the three points away having led by two goals scored by Bradley Ash and Teddy Howe. Slough Town fought back when Arnold Matshazi pulled a goal back before Nathan Carlyle was sent off for the Terras. Scott Davies equalised direct from a free-kick, but with two minutes left on the clock Cam Murray netted the decisive goal.
On Tuesday night, Weymouth hosted Farnborough and by the end of the evening they were left still looking for their first home win in the league. The Terras were level for most of the first-half but conceded with virtually the last play. Jack Ball headed in at the far post to give Farnborough the advantage which they kept until the final whistle. The contrast between Weymouth’s league and cup form is stark. Whilst the Terras having struggled to buy a win in the National South they have reached the first round of the F.A Cup with victories over Winchester City, Welling United and an impressive win against Havant and Waterlooville. Their reward is a home tie against AFC Wimbledon next week.
Head to Head
Dartford wins: 18 / Weymouth wins: 35 / Draws: 16
Current League Form
|St Albans City||A||1-1||Slough Town||A||3-2|
|Tonbridge Angels||H||2-0||Eastbourne Borough||A||1-5|
|Dulwich Hamlet||A||2-1||Havant and Waterlooville||H||0-2|
|Hungerford Town||H||2-0||Dover Athletic||H||0-2|
|Eastbourne Borough||H||2-1||Bath City||A||1-2|
Last Six Meetings
Dartford 1 – 0 Weymouth (15/01/2022 – F.A Trophy)
Weymouth 0 – 0 Dartford (01/08/2020 – National South Playoff Final)*
Weymouth 3 – 1 Dartford (17/08/2019 – National South)
Weymouth 2 – 0 Dartford (27/12/1997 – Southern League South)
Dartford 3 – 2 Weymouth (23/08/1997 – Southern League South)
Weymouth 2 – 1 Dartford (15/02/1997 – National South)
*Weymouth won 3-0 on penalties
- Dartford have not beaten Weymouth in the league for 32 years (D1, L5)
- The Darts ended a 32 year run without beating the Terras in all competitions last season (D2*, L6) *lost one on penalties
- Dartford’s clean sheet last season was the first time they have kept consecutive clean sheets against Weymouth
On This Day
Dartford belatedly lifted the Kent Senior Shield on this day in 1970. Continued over from the previous season the Darts drew 2-2 with Bexley United in the second leg to win 4-3 on aggregate. Nine years ago, Dartford knocked out rivals Ebbsfleet United in the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round with Elliot Bradbrook scoring the winner from the spot. The 1-0 win in the replay came after a 1-1 draw in the first game. It wasn’t the first time Dartford qualified for the F.A Cup first round on this day. The Darts won fourth qualifying round ties by beating Tooting and Mitcham United 2-0 in 1983, then in consecutive season’s against Slough Town 2-1 in 1988 and Dagenham and Redbridge 3-1 in 1989. Dartford’s last outing on 29 October was six years ago, Andy Pugh scoring the decisive goal in a 1-0 win at home to Oxford City.